The ongoing legal battle between the owner of a pest control company and his former employee over who is responsible for a Dec. 21, 2018 wreck involving a truck owned by the firm is scheduled to return to Sequatchie County Courthouse on July 29.
Waylon Ingle, owner of PureGuard Pest Control in Dunlap, claims in a series of court documents that former employee/truck driver Casey Kilgore was negligent and should pay for a total of $6,150.46 in damages.
Kilgore denies that allegation, contending instead that the wreck was caused by his former employer’s insistence that he drive a truck which had bald tires and was not properly maintained. He is asking the court to order Mr. Ingle pay him $840 in withheld wages, plus interest, as well as $30,000 in punitive damages.
Dunlap attorney Samuel Hudson is representing the pest control company owner; his former employee’s lawyer is Robin Flores of Chattanooga.
In documents filed on his client’s behalf, attorney Hudson says the PureGuard Pest Control owner hired Mr. Kilgore on Sept. 7, 2018 to drive a company truck and provide pest control services to various customers on a schedule.
During the three months he was employed PureGuard, Mr. Kilgore was involved in thee different collisions in two different trucks, and damaged the transmission of an F150 Ford truck by driving it recklessly or negligently.
“In addition to the foregoing,” the complaint continues, “while Kilgore was employed by Ingle, Kilgore also negligently and/or recklessly broke the new window crank in the Nissan truck, thereby causing damages to Ingle in the amount of $15, and Kilgore negligently and/or recklessly broke the lid to the large spray tank in the bed of the Nissan truck, thereby causing damages to Ingle in the amount of $30.”
Attorney Flores, representing the former PureGuard employee, denies in a series of court documents that his client was responsible for the financial damages suffered by Mr. Ingle.
“Defendant avers the plaintiff is estopped from seeking and obtaining any relief based upon his own unclean hands,” attorney Flores argues, “by requiring defendant to operate a vehicle . . . that was unfit for operation, . . . by unlawfully withholding the defendant’s last wages or pay . . . (and failing) to properly insure a vehicle he used for his business, and which he required defendant to operate in an unsafe manner (bald tires).”
There was heavy rain on Dec. 21, 2018, when the wreck occurred, according to attorney Flores’ answer to the pest control company owner’s complaint.
The rain caused the driveway to a customer’s house to be muddy and slick, the attorney says, and as his client was leaving after completing his job “the bald and unsafe tires of the vehicle, coupled with the slick mud, caused the vehicle to enter into an uncontrollable slide which defendant could not prevent.”
As a result, he said, the truck slid into a tree.
Since there was no insurance on the truck, according to attorney Flores, Mr. Ingle repaired the vehicle himself. He then demanded that Mr. Kilgore sign a contract agreeing to pay $1,500 in alleged damages, the attorney says, and also demanded that Mr. Kilgore “tell him how much his live-in girlfriend made as income and their combined living expenses.’
Mr. Kilgore did not comply with those demands, according to attorney Flores. Mr. Ingle then withheld Mr. Kilgore’s final two paychecks and soon afterward he sued the truck driver for $6,150 plus court costs.